AdvertisingAdvertisements are all around us, not just on TV, radio and in the press, but also at sports grounds, in the shop windows, and on the posters, carrier bags, badges, T-shirts, buses, hot air balloons. Whether we like it or not, advertising is powerful force, and all countries have rules about what is acceptable advertising.
In parts of Europe, naked women are common in advertisements, but not in Britain and the USA. In some countries of Islam, it is illegal to use photos of women – only line drawings are acceptable. So different countries advertise the same product in different ways. The campaign for Impulse body perfume showed a man who bought flowers for a woman he had never met before because she was wearing Impulse. In France, the woman was naked on a beach; in Britain, a romantic relationship was suggested; in Japan, the meeting was respectable and restrained; in the Arab countries, no version was acceptable and the advertising campaign was dropped.
Britain, like many countries, has strict rules controlling advertising for alcohol. For example, people shown drinking must clearly be 25 or over, and the ads must not suggest that a particular drink offers the key to success in personal relationships, or that it will make you more attractive or popular. Spirits cannot be advertised on TV in Britain; in other countries, such as Norway, alcohol cannot be advertised at all.
Advertisements are supposed to be truthful, so advertisers avoid saying their product is the best; they usually say it is “better”. So the slogan for British Airways promises “We’ll take more care of you“. And Polaroid encourages you to use their camera and film to “Make life more colourful”. The message behind the most advertisements is “This product will change your life”- by making richer, healthier, happier, more attractive, more popular, more efficient, more successful. Do you believe the message? Has product ever changed your life?
Look at the slogans below and think of your own ones.
“If you use Sparkle, your smile will be brighter.”
“Use Sparkle and your smile will be brighter.”
“Sparkle will make your teeth whiter.”
To make your teeth whiter, use Sparkle.
Make your teeth whiter by using Sparkle.
Which statements do you agree with?
- Ads persuade people to buy things they don’t need.
- They try to sell people things they can’t afford to buy.
- If you want to sell something, you have to advertise.
- Some ads are totally misleading.
- They give us information about new products.
- They encourage us to compare products and to choose the best.
- Everything costs more because of advertising.
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